Journal article

3D-Printed Beam Splitter for Polar Neutral Molecules

We describe a macroscopic beam splitter for polar neutral molecules. A complex electrode structure is required for the beam splitter which would be very difficult to produce with traditional manufacturing methods. Instead, we make use of a nascent manufacturing technique: 3D printing of a plastic piece, followed by electroplating. This fabrication method opens a plethora of avenues for research, since 3D printing imposes practically no limitations on possible shapes, and the plating produces chemically robust, conductive construction elements with an almost free choice of surface material. It has the added advantage of dramatically reduced production cost and time. Our beam splitter is an electrostatic hexapole guide that smoothly transforms into two bent quadrupoles. We demonstrate the correct functioning of this device by separating a supersonic molecular beam of ND3 into two correlated fractions. It is shown that this device can be used to implement experiments with differential detection wherein one of the fractions serves as a probe and the other as a reference. Reverse operation would allow the merging of two beams of polar neutral molecules.


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